South West Wales

Prince Charles visit boosts Ffos Las racecourse

Owners of the UK's newest racecourse are hoping a visit by Prince Charles will raise its profile.

The prince expressed his admiration for Ffos Las during a tour of the former opencast coal site in Carmarthenshire.

The £20m course, which opened near Trimsaran in 2009, is already a fixture on the horseracing circuit.

Head groundsman Arwyn Morgan said: "It's fantastic to have royalty come here and highlight to the world what a wonderful course this is.

"The hope is that a visit like this will put us on the map outside the world of horse racing."

"Once you attract a certain cachet of people you get that paparazzi appeal and things can really take off," he said.

"It's all about the fashion stakes to some extent. The hope is that now that Charles has visited, the Queen will be next."

Trainer David Evans from Abergavenny also welcomed the prince's visit.

"It's brilliant that he is here and it certainly can do no harm in raising the profile of Ffos Las," he said.

"After launching during a recession and becoming such a success, things can only get better from now on."

The prince visited an exhibition celebrating the work of his charitable organisations hosted by staff and volunteers.

He was also presenting trophies to winners in a racecard billed as the Prince's Charities in Wales Raceday.

The causes will benefit from money raised from individual races plus a £2 contribution from every course entrance fee taken on Thursday.

The prince was also shown the latest medical technology available to racehorses by vets running the only horse hospital in Wales.

Staff from Cotts Equestrian Hospital, based in Narberth, Pembrokeshire, are responsible for all raceday care at Ffos Las.

Co-owner Graham Fowke said: "The Prince took an active interest in what we were doing because, of course, he is a good horseman himself."

Next week, the prince will spend his annual week in Wales with the Duchess of Cornwall at their Welsh home near Myddfai, Carmarthenshire.

On Monday, he will visit businesses in Aberdyfi in Gwynedd and the Wales Institute for Sustainable Education in Machynlleth, Powys.

Llangadog is his destination on Tuesday to see recycling initiatives with the dutchess in Cardiff at the Cardiff Story museum.

The couple will spend Wednesday visiting locations in Powys and staying around Llandovery on Thursday.

The prince finishes the week at meeting dairy farmers in Cydweli and Llanelli in Dyfed, and will visit an ice cream factory in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire.

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